Sibling Gifts :: Fleecy Winter Wear

To round out the parade of handmade sibling gifts of the Christmas 2012 season, I have this one last post with a project I worked on with our oldest :: Fleecy Winter Wear.

Swaddled In Fleece

Have you seen the insanity that is Joann’s Fabrics when it’s time to roll out the winter fleece? I didn’t know it was possible for one store to offer such a huge variety of different fleece styles. They had it in three separate aisles, along the tops of displays, and all along the top shelves on the outer walls in the store. Crazy.

I wanted to take the eldest with me to pick out fabrics, but due to an outbreak of flu and other illnesses in our home, I had to run out last minute to grab something quick so we could at least get something made and under the tree. This was almost as last minute as you could get; we finished the last bit right before dinner and bed-time Christmas Eve.

Sock Monkey Fleece

There aren’t an enormous number of images showing how we made these. Since I significant portion of this involved the sewing machine, and I’m not very proficient and my daughter was quite out of her comfort zone, I didn’t feel like I should be snapping photos while we’re both sweating bullets.

Fleecy Supplies

But overall, The scarves were an easy project, even for us sewing machine neophytes! Pick some fleece, cut it, pin it, sew it together except for a few inches at either end, flip it inside out, top stitch on either side, then cut a fringe on the ends, and tie it in knots.

Fun Fringe

The hat was a bit more tricky, and it didn’t work quite the way I had envisioned (didn’t mean for the ugly seam to be exposed, but alas, perfection wasn’t the goal, done was!), so I’m going to spare you any attempt to explain what I did, although I will say I took a measurement of the baby’s head to use when cutting out the rectangles, and that worked well.

Fleecy Hat With Fringe

And even though it is rough around the edges and not at all finessed, the baby loves it so very dearly. Dearly enough that once I put it on her head, I can’t take it off. And since she doesn’t stand still for photos, I needed to throw it on the four year old’s head in order to get a few snaps.

So there you have it… a round-up of all the sibling created handmades under the tree this year. But wait… there’s more!

Even though the littlest one isn’t quite old enough to partake of the making, she does manage to find someone to help her purchase a few small tokens to give out, namely fun band-aids!

Fun Bandages

So there you have her contribution, and now, I swear, we’re all done!

Catching Up on Christmas :: The Scarf

This year, I somehow became the head room parent for my first grader’s class. Trust me, it’s sounds much more exciting than it is; my duties are mostly limited to party planning. So, for the class’s holiday party instead of asking for money, I asked the students to help me pull together a special gift for their beloved teacher; a scarf featuring pieces of their artwork.

Each student was sent home with a little brown paper bag containing a small square of silk that had been stabilized on freezer paper, either a purple or a silver—her favorite colors—fabric pen, and a sheet of instructions that asked the students to draw a small design for their teacher. I had planned on cutting the designs into stars as her class theme is “The Home of the Stars” and sewing them onto another fringed silk scarf that I had dyed purple, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut away any part of those little drawings. They were just too sweet. The silk had to be stabilized because it was just too flimsy for first graders to draw on without it bunching and moving around and making a huge mess. At home I usually tape it down but I didn’t want to make more work for the parents. I called the folks over at Dharma Trading Co to ask for recommendations for both the stabilizer and the nicest pens, and they were the ones who told me ironing the silk to the plastic side of freezer paper was probably the easiest (and cheapest) solution! You gotta love a company that is willing to tell you to use something you can buy at the grocery store over something much more expensive on their site!

As I mentioned, I wanted to stitch the art onto a hand dyed silk scarf, but in the end, that scarf was entirely too small. Luckily I found a beautiful organic cotton jersey scarf while I was out shopping one day that was the perfect size.

In the end I didn’t end up stitching them on the scarf at all. I have to admit I started to panic just a little bit when I went to remove the freezer paper backing and the silk started to fray! EEK! Luckily, an emergency trip to JoAnn’s and a quick talk with one of the ladies led me to another stabilizing product, Wonder Under, an iron-on fabric stabilizer that would not only prevent the silk from fraying, but also attach it to the jersey! Emergency resolved! And since I was running low on time I didn’t end up using any embroidery at all but relied on the Wonder Under to attach each design to the scarf. It would have been nice to have a blanket or whip stitch around the edge of the drawings, but, well, I always think I have more time time than I actually do.

I did add a few silver stars drawn on with one or two of the silver fabric markers sent back by the parents, and I think it tied it all together rather nicely to the class theme. Those drawings were so very sweet, and it was very obvious how much they cared for their teacher. I know that the hero worship of their teachers is something that won’t last forever, so I really relished the opportunity to commemorate their adoration with something a little more personal than a gift certificate.

The kids were so proud, and what was even sweeter was how excited they became to tell her all about their drawings when she went around to each child during the party to thank them individually.

I can’t wait to do one for myself with my four little ones!

What to Call It?

I hate calling it charity knitting, but I’m not sure I like craftivism either. All I know for sure is these skeins of yarn, will somehow, through my fingers, become a few scarves to be sent to certain people in charge of voting in support of LGBT issues. This will indeed be an extreme act of tolerance… knitting scarves in acrylic!!! SCARVES?? ACRYLIC?


So for now, I’ll just call it ugly. I was hoping that some nice artsy macro snapshots might make me feel a bit better about the color, or the fiber, or the project–I really despise knitting scarves–but alas! It has not softened my opinion. I am, however, hopeful that I’ll be able to transcend all of this so that I might be able to warm the the hearts of those receiving them to welcome the change we are calling for.

But, it’s acrylic… couldn’t it backfire?